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Summertime Rolls 2010: The Kids Are All Right

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(Some Minor Spoilers Ahead- if you are planning on seeing it, you might want to bail on this review for now)

So what exactly were the kids correct about?  The title suggests that the “kids” were both right about some issue that was being discussed- the kids most likely being Laser and Joni, the children of lesbian couple Jules and Nic.  The title isn’t “The Kids Are Alright,” which would suggest that they are just fine; that everything is dandy with them.

So I am trying to think to what the title could refer. The movie, about a family coming unraveled when the two previously mentioned children contact the sperm donor who provided the seed for the soil, so to speak. The sperm donor becomes part of their lives for one tumultuous summer, bringing up dormant issues that were simmering just below the surface.  But the kids never really make any assertions that they could be right or wrong about.  Well, I guess the movie closes with Laser making a suggestion to his moms, but that would only be one “Kid” being “Right.”

In any case, would this movie be getting the accolades it is currently enjoying if it had been a same-sex couple who, say, had an old boyfriend/girlfriend enter their lives and bring up dormant issues that were simmering just below the surface?  Just asking. The movie is good, and the actors in it probably elevate it beyond “good.”  But I feel like I’ve seen a lot of the elements in it before- the parents think their son is gay because he spends a lot of time with a male pal, there is conflict in the parenting styles (one is a disciplinarian, the other is a flake- isn’t that the same dynamic of the Dunphys on Modern Family?), and worst of all, one of the lesbian couple is seduced into heterosexuality by the sperm donor.

I was especially disappointed by this plot point. Isn’t that where you kind of expect this type of movie to go? There is even a bunch of moments where Julianne Moore and Mark Ruffalo (for they play the Flake Lesbian and the Virile Sperm Donor) tell one another vehemently that they “can’t do this anymore” and “what they are doing is wrong.”  Smash cut to them in bed, post coitus.

I don’t know- that came off as a bit obvious to me.  These scenes tempered some other pretty great stuff.  Annette Bening (as the more responsible lesbian) has a funny, touching scene at dinner where she interprets a Joni Mitchell song, and I always like Mark Ruffalo.

In all, this is only a pretty good movie, despite what you might have heard.


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